Many textbooks are offered in e-book versions. Those who buy an e-book can access an electronic version of the text, at least for a limited time. The e-book version is typically priced at about half the suggested retail price of a new print copy.
Most e-book versions are encumbered with restrictions to prevent resale and sharing among students. Some versions are limited to use on a single computer. With some versions, the user is limited to a fixed number of viewings. It is possible to print out a hard copy of an e-book, but in some cases there are limitations on the number of pages that can be printed out per week.
Unlike print copies, e-books cannot be resold. A student who buys a new print copy can recover about half the purchase price by reselling it when the course is over. A student who buys a used copy and resells it pays a net cost cost of about one-fourth the suggested retail price.
Unless a student would rather read text from a computer screen than from a paper book, e-books do not seem a good bargain at half the price of a new book.